August 18, 2022

Trade Figures Give Stocks a Boost

Various economists said the smaller trade deficit for April, caused in part by a record amount of exports, could prompt upward revisions of gross domestic product growth in the second quarter.

In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average had gained 111.52 points, or 0.9 percent, to 12,160.46. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index rose 11.50 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,291.06. The Nasdaq composite index added 13.05 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,688.43 points.

The S. P. 500 posted its best day so far this month, but the mood remained fragile. with some analysts still expecting it to approach its March 2010 lows after falling more than 6 percent since a peak in May.

“We’re basically trading off technicals,” said William Larkin, a portfolio manager with Cabot Money Management in Salem, Mass. “We’re going to be in a very active trading range, and we just need a couple of key warnings — on consumer confidence, energy prices, whatever — and markets could continue to weaken.”

Energy shares were among the biggest gainers as crude oil rose. The S. P. 500’s energy sector rose 1.2 percent.

Wall Street stocks have held in a pattern recently of selling off in the second half of the day as investors look for a bottom.

The American trade deficit narrowed unexpectedly in April, as exports rose to a record and imports from Japan tumbled more than 25 percent in the aftermath of the March earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, a government report showed Thursday.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 1,000 last week, however, according to a report Thursday that could add to fears the labor market recovery has stalled.

Among individual stocks, Texas Instruments cut its earnings and revenue forecasts, blaming the shortfall on the ailing business of Nokia, a major customer. Shares of Texas Instruments rose 0.7 percent to $32.89

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